Interview with drummer Joakim Antonsson
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: September 27, 2020
Trident is a blackened Death Metal band from Sweden that released a well-received debut album called World Destruction in 2010 and the Shadows EP in 2015. Since then, it's been quiet in the Trident camp, but sometimes band members need to focus on other areas in life and recharge the batteries.
However, our beloved Swedish disciples of the Devil have been hard at work on new material over the last few years and now a release date of October 2, 2020, has been set for the band's follow-up record, titled North, to be released via The Netherlands' Non Serviam Records.
We contacted the band's drummer, Joakim Antonsson, to find out about the band's new album, what's behind the title, the album artwork, the importance of promotion, how much COVID-19 has affected the band's plans for gigging, etc.
Congratulations on your new album, North. In my opinion, it's a great piece of Blackened Death Metal, continuing the long-lasting tradition of Swedish extreme Metal bands. Making music that sounds ass-kicking and adorable seems to be part of Swedes' DNA...
Joakim: Thank you. We believe that the environment affects the creative process, thus it might be that North speaks through many great musicians around here.
You joined the band in 2012 and it's been steady lineup-wise, although Anders "Bloodlord" Backelin joined the band in 2019 on bass. Did you find Anders through bass auditions or did you simply ask him if he'd be interested in joining the band?
Joakim: Anders and I have been friends for many years, and we played in a band together after Lord Belial took a break. With Thomas Backelin as the mastermind, we created Death Tyrant and released a full-length album on the same label as Trident is currently with.
I have recorded several albums with Anders, helping as a studio drummer and engineering in the studio. He put the bass aside for quite some time, but he felt a great connection to us in Trident and what we wanted to create. He loved the material and wanted to be a part of it. I knew he was a perfect fit.
Everything is connected with great friends and musicians.
THE MAKING OF NORTH
Was the material for North easy to compose and did you feel making this album was more like a joint venture in which each band member put in 100% effort?
Joakim: Creating music that we believe lasts and gets remembered for a very long time is very time consuming, but we believe that we have a process that works great for us.
Johan and I spend weeks inside the rehearsal studio working to get the right feel of the songs. When we believe the process is completed, we start involving the other members of the band to compose and create structure, which is mainly in the mind of Per-Owe while the process of discussing and writing lyrics and the theme of the song is overseen by Henri.
Everyone in the band puts 100% effort in the music. If they didn't, we would never be proud to finally record and release this album.
In which areas would you say the band has progressed musically since the Shadows EP, released in 2015?
Joakim: It was where we decided together that we were ready to create the full-length album and that it is okay and will take a very long time. The most important thing is to make it right and not create something out of stress and distractions.
WHAT'S BEHIND NORTH?
The album is called North. The title clearly hints where the band comes from, who your ancestors are, and where peoples' roots are who live in the northern hemisphere of our planet. I know I am only scratching the surface, so could you kindly tell us more about your album's title?
Joakim: The lyrics to the song "North" are based on perceptions deriving from old religion, folklore and myths about a place very far up north where healers would send the sickest of people so they could not find their way back to plague their hosts. A lot of the musical inspiration for most tracks on the album come from riffs written whilst traveling the more northern parts of Sweden. It is an homage to the beauty of the vast forests and mighty mountains. The usage of runes and the fact that we are a band based in Scandinavia can easily be interpreted as a full out Viking homage, but in fact references to different (mostly northern) folklore, philosophies and cultures were used in the creative progress.
We wanted to make North into a musical journey beyond the restrictions of perceived time and space, a dark cosmic trip through a dreamworld of our creation. Hopefully, the listeners will feel that they can let go of the world around them and embark to realms beyond. The paths taken should be from the personal perspectives of the listeners, and I really look forward to hearing what people experienced or where they went in their minds.
Did artist Juanjo Castellano Rosado exceed your expectations with the artwork? It truly looks outstanding, I must admit...
Joakim: Working with the artist was great. I have worked with many other artists before and know what they like in terms of guidelines to create art.
I created an album artwork guideline with key components to help him visualize and express the feelings we created in the music along with the lyrics of the song "North".
After that, you let that person interpret your vision and set them free. You only interfere if the overall result is drifting away from the guideline and of what the album is all about.
Juanjo Castellano Rosado created a masterpiece and we are all very grateful and thankful for his art.
The Internet, with its countless possibilities, revolutionized the making of music letting musicians record music in many different ways. How do you use all of these modern tools?
Joakim: We believe that working on the material in the rehearsal studio is the right way to go for us. Johan and I process the material and record it on basic recorders such as phones or a portable field recorder (depending on what we would like to achieve).
THE SILENCE WAS BROKEN
Since the Shadows EP, have there been any tough periods on the way to where you found yourselves recording the songs at your bassist's studio, Armageddon Recordings Studio in Vänersborg, Sweden? Five years is a pretty long time between your EP and this your sophomore album...
Joakim: We all had really tough periods up to the recording of the album. The songs are created out of our experiences and serve as therapy for us all. We all have endured hardships and I am so proud that against all odds we are able to play together and create beautiful art such as this.
Many great bands take their time and we believe that is a necessary process for the music to grow. Turning each event and every feeling each member had through the years to a comprehensive piece of music that can be listened to in just one hour is crazy.
If we were not satisfied with the results, this could have taken longer. It is ready when it's ready.
As far as I understand, the members of the band all live in different villages or towns. Does that cause any logistical issues as far as practices and other band-related matters are concerned?
Joakim: It works. We are still figuring out the details, but we have already had time to do proper rehearsals and it felt great. Instead of taking a couple of hours after work to rehearse, we now take our time to hang out, play music and enjoy it as a strong group.
In an ideal world, you would have played a string of shows to support the release of North, but now that we are living in a world infested by this ugly and lethal Coronavirus, there really isn't much that can be done live-wise. Do you have plans for a live stream show when the album comes out? It's one way to get a record release party arranged, although I know it's nowhere near the same adrenaline rush as a real live gig experience...
Joakim: We will have a release fest when North gets released. If that is going to be live shows or if we get a camera crew and rent a venue to perform live on the web, that is possible, too. We will have to work creatively and do our best to support the release of North.
BEING IN THE SERVICE OF NON SERVIAM RECORDS
How did you end up signing to The Netherlands' Non Serviam Records?
Joakim: We dealt with several other record labels while trying to find a suitable one for us. We have talked to many labels that only seek the power of money and have no interest in the music. Of course, money plays a part, but the core lies in the music.
If money is the only focus of a label and there is no interest in the music, that relationship will never last.
We have known Ricardo from Non Serviam Records for many years and he absolutely loves our music. I might point out that he is a really good friend of ours and he has been hammering us about wanting to sign us for many years.
I have worked with Ricardo before and released Opus de Tyranis with the band Death Tyrant many years ago.
As far as playing gigs are concerned, it's relatively difficult at the moment but 2021 may well bring some good opportunities again (fingers crossed). How much planning for 2021 live shows have you done?
Joakim: We have some great shows planned for Q1 of next year and we are doing our best to get out on the road to promote North. We have our fingers crossed that this pandemic will be over by next year.
Kalle Johansson from Backstage Productions did a splendid job with your "Shadows" video some years ago. Do you have any plans to cooperate with him again for the band's next promotional video?
Joakim: He did a great job and managed not to go insane with me as the director. We will create our own video for the next promotional video as we have planned this for a long time.
Promotional videos are crucial as far as promotion is concerned. You can reach so many people around the world via the many online platforms, unlike back in the day. How important are these videos from your point of view? Are they a "necessary evil" if you just want to reach a higher level with your band(s)?
Joakim: I think they are great way to get a glimpse of what the band is all about, I want to create the next video as I want the audience and myself to experience Trident. I think it's extremely important to be honest and transparent about your art, what you see is what you get.
UNDERDOGS OF THEIR TIME
What's the next step that Trident might take regarding reaching that next level? Getting a support slot on a tour with some more established bands perhaps, to play for bigger crowds at bigger venues, eh?
Joakim: We have many great friends in the industry and with the album North, we will be able to join many great musicians as support acts all over the world. Perhaps we like to be the underdogs here in this particular moment.
Our shows will be like going back to a concert of the '90s, but something new.
As nothing is more uncertain than the future itself at this moment, what kind of hopes do you have for 2021?
Joakim: We are going to step up our game, we are rehearsing and preparing everything we can, making new songs as the album North marked what Trident really is.
We are ready for the road whenever this pandemic is over.
Is there anything else you'd like to add because I have run out of questions for this chat? If not, then I would like to thank you, Joakim, for your time and wish you all the best in your life and with Trident (feel free to add any closing comments if you want to).
Joakim: Thank you for this interview, it has been a blast!
Thank you to all of our fans that have been waiting for five years, but we are finally here. See you all on the road!
|Other information about Trident on this site|
|Review: World Destruction|
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